Tag: fiction

4 Female Protagonist Types I See Over and Over Again

I always have the worst time finding summer reading. I tend to go for easier, lighter reads in the summer and I try to avoid rubbish books. No vampires or werewolves. No more futuristic dystopians. No teens dying from cancer or car accidents. No books centred on abusive relationships. It’s my summer vacation and I don’t want to be reading anything that’s triggering or going to make me anxious.

BOOKSSSSS

I was starting to think that maybe I was a little too picky about my summer reading choices, but then I talked to my 22-year-old cousin and she found she was having a similar problem. She was having a hard time find books to read, period. All she wants is book characters to relate to. We talked about it and came to the general realization that there are protagonists that seem to have thematically similar conflicts that break down depending on the age of the protagonist:

The Teenage YA Protagonist

Books where the protagonist is a high school student, dealing with the transition into the ‘big’ world of high school or starting at a new school. These books usually involve a conflict around an ugly duckling finding herself and her first boyfriend. And spoiler alert: the boyfriend is usually a garbage human.

Examples: Twilight, Willow, Beautiful, Chasing Boys

The College YA Protagonist

Books where the main character is dealing with the transition of either going off to college, leaving her home behind. The conflicts of being out on her own for the first time and the mistakes she makes while she strikes out. These books sometimes feature a love triangle between a high school boyfriend and a new, more mature, college romance.

Examples: Dearst Clementine, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

The Adulting Protagonist

Then there seems to be a bit of an age jump there, and the next kind of heroine we encounter are the post-grads, trying to land her first big ‘real job’ and the hilarity that ensues with that transition. I feel like the subtitle to most of those books could easily be ‘Adulting is Hard’. These Adulting protagonist have love stories that usually see the protagonist getting engaged at the end. Usually, to underserving, terrible boy characters. It’s kind of depressing.

Examples: Confessions of a Shopaholic, Devil Wears Prada, Post Grad

The Balancing Act Protagonist

Then we get to the stories about married women who are struggling with balancing their lives, trying to manage being a ‘good’ wife and mother, while also a good friend and being a rockstar at work. Sometimes, the major conflict is with their husbands, and on the occasion, the heroine is realizing she’s married the wrong man. Sometimes, that conflict comes from the fact the main character has prioritized their jobs over their families, so their husband’s fragile egos are hurt.

Examples: Shopaholic Takes Manhattan, Everyone Worth Knowing or pretty much anything by Marian Keyes

Prove me wrong, books!

I guess that if you’re looking to create conflict in stories, while avoiding dark or heavy stuff, you’re only left with relationships, maybe?

I feel like I’m asking for the impossible trying to find something to read that is easy, fun, while at the same time skipping those more traditional, almost formulaic plots. I could do without these characters that revolve around a female protagonist’s romantic relationship or finding the balance between keeping their romantic partner happy, while also being happy themselves. I’m looking for more from my books, you guys.

Am I being too harsh about these kinds of protagonists? What kind of books do you like to read during the summer?

Or even better… do you have a book recommendation for me? Tell me all about it in the comments below.

Better: A Drabble

He pushed through the door after a very long day.

“You’re feeling better,” he called out as a greeting.

“Hmm?” She barely looked up.  She was sitting cross-legged on the couch, hunched over her ukulele, experimenting with different chords, trying to find the right one.  He knew better than to think she’d heard him.

“You must be feeling better.  You’ve got your uke in your hands,” he kissed her on the forehead. He also knew better than to interrupt when she was having a moment with her uke.

“I’ll start dinner?”

“Hmmm?”

He smiled to himself, “Yeah, I’ll start dinner.”

 

drabble is a short work of fiction of one hundred words in length¹.

Cartoons: A drabble

She lay with her head in his lap, watching him as he watched the TV.  It was mostly quiet in the house.

“There are times when I see these little parts of you that make me sad you don’t want to be a father,” She said.

He moved to touch her face with his hand, his eyes still on the TV screen.  There was a pause. She wondered if he’d heard her.

“Because I like cartoons?” He asked after a while.

“No, you ass.”

He grinned and leaned down to kiss her. She smiled.  He knew exactly what she’d meant.

 

drabble is a short work of fiction of one hundred words in length¹.

Disconnect: A Drabble

“Here,” She handed him a folded piece of paper.

He lifted an eyebrow, “What’s this?”

“Try reading it,” She said with a smirk and a hand on her hip.

He unfolded the page and skimmed over the short note written in her familiar handwriting.

He furrowed his brow, “Okay…”

“What?” She looked at him, waiting for him to connect the dots.

“It has an emotional disconnect.”

“No,” She disagreed.

“What’s it supposed to mean?”

She took a deep breath and let it out quickly, “Nevermind.”

She took the paper from him, crumpled it and tossed it in the rubbish bin.

 

drabble is a short work of fiction of one hundred words in length¹.

Quick: A drabble

She was waiting for him by the door, her eyes found him the second he stepped into the room. She grabbed his arm as he walked by and leaned in to whisper in his ear. He glanced at her casually, but she knew he’d heard her.


Five minutes later, he’d caught up with her, slipping silently into the room. She closed the door behind him and locked it. The next second, hands were everywhere. His lips brushed hers, they were peeling clothing off each other.


“I’m not good at these,” he muttered.


She smiled, “I’ll be the judge of that.”


drabble is a short work of fiction of one hundred words in length¹.

Walls: A Drabble

“Hey,” His voice was softer, he reached out to her.

She pulled away violently. “Don’t touch me,” she hissed.

He stood there, frozen on the spot. He held his hands up in an ‘I surrender’ gesture, “Okay…”

She looked at him, her gaze full of fire and ice; she was angry, but she’d switched off, wanting nothing from him.

“Don’t do that,” He said quietly.

“Don’t do what?” She said it like it was a challenge.

“Don’t pull away from me, don’t cut me off.”

“Too late,” she crossed her arms tightly.

He knew it; her walls were back up.

 

 

drabble is a short work of fiction of one hundred words in length¹.

Crazy: A Drabble

“This is what makes me feel truly grown up,” She gestured around the store with her hands.

“Buying assembly-required student –living style furniture?” He smirked.

“No, you ass,” She poked him playfully in the shoulder, “Setting the place up.  Setting our place up.”

“Ahhh, I see.”

“Oh, do you? ‘Cuz that look on your face would suggest otherwise.”

“Oh? What, exactly, is my face telling you?”

“That you think I’m crazy.”

“You are crazy.  But then again, I’m in love with a crazy person, so I may not be the best judge of that.”

She smiled, “I love you, too.”

 

drabble is a short work of fiction of one hundred words in length¹.

Lunch: A Drabble

She crosses the street, takes the underpass to the main road. This is a route she’s walked every day, she could do it blindfolded.

On her right, there’s a pile of blankets against a brick wall.“Hey,” She says to the blankets.  They move. A dirty face smiles at her, “Well, hello there.”She passes him a package, “Your lunch.”

“Thanks, Curly.”

Four men in business suits are walking towards them. Laughing, engaging in douchebaggery.

“Get a job!” One of them shouts towards the man in the blankets.

“I’d love a job,” he shouts back. “Can I borrow a suit?”

 

drabble is a short work of fiction of one hundred words in length¹.

First published on drabblerousers.com